The Sunday Preach:
"What's in your Basement?"
"Basements, like garages and sheds, are full of anything and everything that you don't necessarily want in the main living space of your home." (Ch 11, pg. 112.)
With a basement fire, you never know what you may encounter. It may be unfinished and contain strictly storage, or conversely may be finished and occupied 365 days a year by the Mother-in-law.
They can prove to be some of the toughest fires that we encounter due to several factors... many times, due to OUR inability to initially recognize that the fire is indeed in the basement on our arrival.
Basement checks at all fires are a must, many times fire origination at that basement level is discovered during the 360 degree lap around the building. Other factors such as building components such as furnaces and electrical panels, limited access points, difficulty in locating interior basement steps, reduced ventilation options and quick access for fire travel into the 'structural supports system' of the home, especially when an unfinished ceiling is present (fire travel in and thru floor joists, balloon framing etc.)... all can add to our difficulty in attack and extinguishment.
Companies must create a tactical plan for location, confinement and extinguishment of basement fires based upon the resources they have at their disposal. Coordination and communication of the plan of attack at basement fires is paramount. For ultimate success and quick extinguishment, everyone must know the plan and be well practiced in its execution.